Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that there are certain areas in the country, including my own constituency of Oxford, where a very large proportion—in some cases about half—of the leaseholders are excluded from the privileges of enfranchisement by the present regulations, and that it is very difficult to explain to those people why it is just for one class of leaseholder to be enfranchised and not just for another class?
While thanking my right hon. Friend for that brief Answer—it was very much to the point—may I press on him the urgency of this legislation—[HON. MEMBERS: "Question."] May I ask my right hon. Friend to bear in mind that there is a great deal of urgency in this matter, remembering that, as in the case of my constituency, both the folk concerned and many of the leases concerned are moving towards the end of their span? Would he see that the formula decided on to settle the purchase price—[HON. MEMBERS: "Too long."]I—am nearly there—of the freehold should be as low as possible, realising, as he must do—
As my hon. Friend is aware, we have taken steps to protect leaseholders whose leases expire before the Bill becomes law. I am well aware of the urgent need for this Bill. My hon. Friend will be comforted to know that we are making good progress.
Is my right hon. Friend aware that some landlords are asking exorbitant sums of money for initial repairs before agreeing to statutory tenancies being given to tenants whose leases have fallen in since 8th December, 1964? Is he further aware that these tenants will be unable to take advantage of the Leasehold Reform Bill unless quick action is taken?